MANILA – Senator Franklin Drilon said yesterday that another 5.2 million poor Filipino families will be enrolled in the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. program if the sin tax reform bill will be passed into law.
“If we will be able to pass this bill, another 5.2 million Filipino families belonging to the second lowest income group will be enrolled with P2,400 per year premium in the PhilHealth,” Drilon said.
Currently, Drilon said the government has been paying P2,400 per year for each of the enrolled 5.2 million families.
”Overall, more than 10 million Filipino families will be given free PhilHealth insurance if we will be able to pass into law this bill,” Drilon said.
He said the Senate committee on ways and means is eyeing to pass the bill on Nov. 19.
“Our target is vote on third and final reading on the 19th of November so that we will be able pass on the 20th or 21st the proposed 2013 national budget. That’s our target,” Drilon said.
Under Senate Bill No. 3299, Drilon said the government will be able to generate P40 to 45 billion in the first year of implementation.
”Our objective here is to raise the excise taxes being collected from the sin products, specifically tobacco and alcohol products,” he said.
The Department of Health will be needing P12.5 billion for the additional 5.2-million family enrollees in PhilHealth, Drilon said.
He said 60 percent of the 17 million Filipinos who are smoking cigarettes belong to the poor Filipino families.
The Philippines has the lowest prices of cigarettes in Asia, resulting to over 80,000 deaths due to cigarette smoking-related diseases, Drilon said.
He said that based on the Philippine General Hospital’s study, the combined loss on production and cost of public health is P155 billion.*PNA
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